I’ve been a vegetarian for about 9 years now, but I don’t really try to convert people to vegetarianism. I do believe that a little bit of ethically raised, organic meat can be good for you. (Honestly, I just don’t have any desire to eat it.) I’m lucky that Alex feels the same way, so most of our meals are vegetarian but he will occasionally eat meat if he knows it comes from a good source. That said, most meat isn’t that kind of meat. Plus, quality meat is expensive and it’s one of the reason that people think eating healthy has to be expensive. (FYI- it doesn’t.) Really, it comes back to balance and moderation!
So if you’re working on just eating a little less meat, here are a few ways you can do that!
Add in other “umami” foods. Umami is the savory flavor typically found in meat dishes. It’s one of the five tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami! While it might be traditionally found in meat, ingredients like mushrooms, tomatoes, and soy sauces are high in glutamates, which is where that flavor comes from. Try adding in some mushrooms to your pasta sauce or use tomato paste in your vegetable soup to get more flavor umami flavor.
Try different cuisines. I’m from a traditional Midwestern family. We didn’t eat things like Indian food, Thai food, or sushi. Think outside the “meat and potatoes” dishes because many other cuisines have a heavier focus on vegetarian foods. I’m a huge fan of Indian food and I’m working on expanding my arsenal of recipes.
Use meat as a flavor rather than as the main dish. A little bacon could add a lot of flavor to a dish, and it can also help the carnivores in your life get over the idea of a meal with less meat. Cutting back gradually can help meat eaters feel like they’re not missing out on anything, but if you take meat out of the spotlight, you’ll eat a little less meat.
Those are just a few ways to cut back on meat. Of course, if you need some meatless recipes, I’ve got plenty of those!
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